A young, self-taught animator in Uganda has been working for the past two years on what he hopes will be an iconic cartoon character for the continent—Africa’s version of Mickey Mouse, if you will—and the world is starting to take notice.
Since premiering online last year, short clips of Katoto regularly receive 25,000 to 30,000 views on YouTube, and the BBC recently aired a feature on the cartoon.
“I think it’s getting popular now because of its appeal and sincerity,” says 24-year old creator Richard Musinguzi, who developed the goofy, cheerful, and round-bellied character after graduating from architecture school in 2013. “We try to keep the beauty of the language and the behaviors of a true African Mukiga man.”
The Mukiga people belong to the Bakiga tribe—one of many tribes in Uganda—from the country’s southwest region in a district called Kabale. Hailing from a hilly and mountainous region, they’re known for being hardworking and resilient, according to Musinguzi.
The cartoon series features the comical escapades of a Mukiga man named Katoto who, along with his son, his cow, and his wife, navigates the problems of modern life in Uganda. Katoto speaks in a rare Mukiga dialect that is foreign to even some Ugandans, but his comedy is largely physical and easy to follow. In one clip, Kototo takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and in another, he makes a funny and failed attempt to take a selfie. The idea, says Musinguzi, is to preserve the beauty of the local language and customs while trying to appeal to a wider, global audience.
“We recently received a message from a Katoto fan telling us how she enjoys showing the clips to her grandmother back home in the village because he’s dancing and speaking in a language that she was familiar with,” he says. “People love these clips because they help them connect with their roots.”
As a young boy, Musinguzi dreamed of studying animation at Georgia’s Savannah College of Art and Design, but the program was too expensive. Instead, he studied architecture at Uganda Martyrs University, where he began to teach himself how to animate by following YouTube tutorials. By graduation, he had created more than 25 different 2-D and 3-D commercials for various production companies. After graduation, he began to study Disney animation classics. “Ever since then, I’ve been improving fast,” he says.
His biggest inspiration has been Ward Kimball, the Disney animator who created Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio. Other early Disney animators were also a major influence, especially Milt Kahl, who created Shere Khan in The Jungle Book, and Frank Thomas, who created the stepmother in Cinderella and the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland.
“I always analyze their work frame by frame to see how they managed to breathe so much life and vitality into their characters,” says Musinguzi. “I also enjoy reading their biographies and things about their personal lives. Reading animation history is my biggest asset. This is what gives me fuel.”
Musinguzi says he had a “burning desire” to animate a cartoon character that truly behaved like a Ugandan after reading comical folk stories from a Ugandan legend called Ishe-Katabazi. In one story, a man gets into a fight with a pregnant woman, and, after she wins the fight, “his excuse was that he couldn’t fight two people at the same time,” Musinguzi explains.
From there, he began to design his character with a similar penchant for humor, and searched for audio recordings that matched his personality. “I animated only six seconds of it and uploaded it on my Facebook page. Within a day, it had gone viral on [Ugandan] social media,” he says.
Musinguzi says he wants to create a legacy of African-style animation with Katoto and hopes the show can present interesting stories, cultures, and places that will help Africans connect and appreciate their own roots more.
Given Musinguzi’s limited resources to date, Katoto is currently only available on YouTube and Facebook, but he hopes to produce a DVD special soon. He has also begun training other artists in the Katoto style of animation in order to increase the length and quality of future clips.
“Katoto is more than just a character,” he says. “We are also going to grow it as a brand, comprising not just animation, but games, merchandise, and storybooks.”
He has been called one of the most original stand-up comics in the country, and his performances leave audiences laughing in tears. Michael Blackson, aka, ‘The African King of Comedy’, has been entertaining audiences all across the country and around the globe for more than a decade. Inspired by the stand up comedy of Eddie Murphy, Blackson began to develop his comedic talent in 1992 in the unkind comedy clubs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Blackson’s comedic appeal grew from his involvement with BET’s ComicView series, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, Showtime at Harlem, and Live in Hollywood. However, it was in a Los Angeles comedy club where Blackson got his big break. Blackson was performing at the Comedy Store where actor/director Ice Cube was in attendance to see comedian Mike Epps perform. But after experiencing Blackson’s performance, Ice Cube invited the young comic for a reading…and the rest is smash hit history! Blackson’s outstanding and unforgettable performance in the smash hit comedy, Next Friday, drew praise and a fan following like no other.
After his scene stealing performance in Next Friday, fans wanted more, and in 2005, Blackson would not disappoint. He released his top-selling sketch comedy CD entitled, Modasucka, Welcome to America. With Blackson, the work never stops. Along with special guest appearances on some of the hottest music videos, Blackson stole the stage on P. Diddy’s Bad Boys of Comedy on HBO and starred in a commercial for the Chappelle Show on Comedy Central. There’s no mistaking Blackson for any other comedian when he takes the stage.
And what about those Dashikis? When he takes the stage, clad in the finest Dashikis the Motherland has to offer, “The African King of Comedy? is born! Along with his film and television endeavors, Blackson continues to entertain his fans as the headliner for live shows at comedy clubs, universities and special events, bringing his one-of-a kind, must-see stand-up performance to audiences all across the country and around the world.
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There are all sorts of men with all sorts of traits as there are women and since time immemorial it has gone without saying that you have to kiss as many frogs as possible before landing “the one”. That said, a woman will meet all sorts of men in her lifetime and Dayan Masinde breaks this down on a list for us. Check it out:
1. “The pervert”
This is the man who casually and constantly thinks of sex. He will touch her inappropriately, think of her only when he wants sex, beg her to send him naked pictures, or see her just as a set of boobs and ass to sleep with. Some are rapists.
2.”The male chauvinist”
This is the man who belittles women, and hinders her progress. This man thinks women are weak and don’t deserve certain positions. His misplaced ego inspires her to prove him wrong.
3. “The first crush”
This is the first man who evokes her true emotions. For the first time a man excites her.
4. “The first love”
This is the man she first commits to in an official relationship. The first man she gives herself to, the first she tells “I love you” to and who teaches her love and reveals to her how much love she has.
5. “The father figure”
This could be her biological father who covers her and loves her or an uncle, a mature man who nurtures her.
6. “The bad example”
This could be her father who is absent or men she sees around cheating on their woman, the men who make her wonder if good men exist.
7. “The brother”
This could either be her blood brother or a man she can confide in and he has no hidden agenda. He could be in a relationship or single but he and her cannot be a couple. Some call each other BFF.
8. “The heartbreaker”
This is the man who will break her heart into pieces, demolish her trust in men, make her wary of men, hurt her and make her withdraw and put up walls. To some, this is the man who impregnates and runs away, the physical abuser, the darkest part of het life.
9. “The hope giver”
This is the man who will come after a heartbreak, the one who will break down her walls, inspire her to love again, bring her heart out of the cocoon, remind her that good men still exist.
10. “The player”
This is the man who will want to add her to his list of women, the condom man who sleeps around and saying it’s safe sex, the one her heart is not safe with at all, the womanizer.
11. “The bitter ex”
This is the man who will not want her to have any other man or any form of happiness because he cannot have her. He is the suicidal type.
12. “The untouchable”
This is the one she sees in all the good qualities she wants in a man but she cannot have him. He is out of reach because he is either taken or married or with his own walls.
13. “The wrong Mr. Right”
This is the man who loves her and she loves him but the two cannot be. They might date but not meant to lead to marriage. They will teach each other alot, be there for each other alot but not become life partners.
14. “The nag"
This is the man she has no feelings for at all but he keeps trying, calling her, buying her things, asking her out on dates, giving her headaches.
15. “The non-mover”
This is the man she will have feelings for, she will try to win his attention but he will notice her but not make a move. Since she can’t nag him, she sits by the fence waiting for him to be the man and hunt her.
16. “The control freak”
This is the man who will have strange demands, he wants to dictate what she does, who she sees, where she goes, how she dresses and treats her like propoerty or a girl, over protective.
17 “The map reader”
This is the man who will teach her things about men, the one who advices her about men and she asks of his opinion, he helps her navigate in the maze that is men. He could be a pastor, a mentor, a big brother or a relationship counsellor.
18. “The chat buddy”
This is the man who is great at chatting. When she is bored he can chat her up to a smile. He could be a man far away who just likes to say hello and share videos, quotes and jokes.
19. “The boy”
This is the immature man who has a crush on her but calls it love. He drools at her and she is his hero. He knows she is way out of his league but he tries any way. His pursuit makes her feel good about herself.
20. “The one that got away”
This is the great man she feels slipped out of her hands either because she wronged him, she repelled him or she told him she’s not ready for a relationship. He waited for her and then left, she sees him happy these days with a good woman who held on to him.
21. “The secret admirer”
This is the man who lacks confidence to approach her. So shy, he can’t ask her out, all he does is fantasize about her and like her pics and posts on social media.
22. “The brag”
This is the man so full of himself. He shows off his money, bling, cars, house, success hoping she might be attracted to all that.
23. “The unfaithful married man”
This is the married man who will pursue her. He will promise her heaven and all her needs met as long as she joins him in the sin of unfaithfulness.
24. “The sex symbol”
This is the hot man. The man she lusts after. He talks or sits next to her and she wants to remove her bra and underwear. In her secret room, she harbours sexual thoughts of her. This is the best thing if he is also her true lover, but dangerous if it is not her man.
25. “The true lover”
This is her life-time partner. The one to say “I do”, her husband, the culminatiom of all she’s learnt about men, the one!
dating black couple
26. “The love wrecker”
This is the man who shows up when she’s found her true lover. He is the man who tries to water down her true lover’s goodness, the one who comes to destroy her true lover. He could be a selfish man or just a good man who shouldn’t be pursuing her, he will pounce on the troubles she has with her true man, taking advantage of their storms. She must keep him away, lest she has an affair and destroys her true love.
Angelina Jolie is doubling down on directing and continuing to pursue her overseas interests while doing so: The globe-trotting actress, humanitarian and filmmaker has signed on to helm "Africa," a sweeping drama about the famed paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey and his battle against ivory poachers. Skydance Productions made the announcement Friday.
Featuring a script by Eric Roth, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of "Forrest Gump," "Africa" marks the latest in a string of high-profile directing gigs for Jolie, who for all her stardom remains a relatively unproven filmmaker: To date, her only released feature has been the little-seen Bosnian war drama "In the Land of Blood and Honey."
That will all change soon enough, as Jolie's "Unbroken," a biopic about the Olympic runner and World War II hero Louis Zamperini, is scheduled for release on Christmas Day. The Universal release is regarded as a potential Oscar contender, but it's also something of a wild card. Few have seen the film, which hasn't played at any festivals.
Jolie certainly has Universal's confidence — the studio also signed on for her subsequent directorial effort "By the Sea," a relationship drama she wrote and will costar in with husband Brad Pitt. That movie is up next, with "Africa" potentially to follow."
"Africa" also further underscores that Jolie has been able to attract choice collaborators. There's Roth, who in addition to "Gump" has earned Oscar nominations for co-writing "The Insider," "Munich" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Also on board is the acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins, who has been nominated for 11 Oscars though somehow never won (he also shot "Unbroken").
Along with directing, Jolie will also serve as a producer on "Africa," with David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Jon Peters.
"I've felt a deep connection to Africa and its culture for much of my life," Jolie said in a statement, "and was taken with Eric's beautiful script about a man drawn into the violent conflict with elephant poachers who emerged with a deeper understanding of man's footprint and a profound sense of responsibility for the world around him."
Ghanaian celebrated actor , Van Vicker. After many years in the movie industry has finally gotten the opportunity to star in his first Hollywood movie titled ‘Skinned’ with Hollywood actress /Director , Lisa Raye McCoy.
Van Vicker who’s currently in America , said that he has been very active shooting in different countries that’s why he has not been too stable in Ghana. ‘I have been very active shooting in different countries and also attending different programs. That’s why I have not been too stable in Ghana, but now i am in America shooting a Hollywood film for the first time’ he said excitingly.
Sharing his first time Hollywood shooting experience, he said. ‘the experience, is not very different from other shoots, but i must say, Raye and Avery Williams (Director and co-director) changed my whole perspective as an actor and a director.’
‘They were so professional it’s almost a crime but yet so warm and friendly. we had fun and we nailed it’ Van stated amidst laughter’.
Comparing the Ghanaian film industry to Hollywood, he said that the major difference in shooting in Hollywood and shooting in West-Africa is that, with Hollywood filming, there is a state of professionalism and everyone on the set knows their jurisdiction and takes full responsibility.
As to Gollywood film industry will ever get to the standard of Hollywood, he said that the Ghanaian film industry is not ignorant but rather, he’s glad that a number of actors and producers are getting exposed to international shoots and they can bring to bear, experiences which is going to let them know better and also do better.
Mr Van vicker said that the standards of movie- making in Ghana have not fallen because the rate, rather , he thinks it has to do with the purchasing power.
‘it seems the masses purchase more of the local films in Ghana, than the English ones , but outside Ghana, the English films are doing well, it is a matter of time and hard work’ he professed.
Lisa raye is best known for portraying Diana “Diamond” Armstrong in the film The Players Club, Neesee James on the CW sitcom All of Us from 2003 until 2007 and Keisha Greene in the VH1 romantic comedy series Single Ladies which originally aired from 2011-2014.